PUTRAJAYA, Sept 13 — Rice millers, wholesalers and retailers have committed to implementing the Local White Rice Special Programme (PKBPT) throughout the country to ensure the stability of the local white rice supply in the market.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), in a statement, said the matter was agreed upon at an engagement session between the MAFS and national rice industry players in Putrajaya today, to discuss in detail the local white rice supply and the increase in the price of imported white rice.
PKBPT is being implemented in two phases from September 8 to September 15, where through the programme, millers will increase local white rice production by 20 per cent for the domestic market for a period of one year.
“This intervention is aimed at ensuring that the local white rice supply can meet the needs of consumers and guarantee the stability of its supply in the market,” said MAFS following the engagement session chaired by the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali.
The engagement session was also attended by representatives from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living (KPDN), the Federal Agricultural Marketing Board (Fama), the Farmers’ Organisation Authority (LPP), Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), as well as five major rice wholesalers and 11 hypermarkets.
Through the PKBPT, MAFS said Fama and LPP were also involved in distributing local white rice to target groups, especially in areas that did not have supermarkets.
According to the statement, the ministry will monitor and enforce the programme through the Padi and Rice Control Authority (KPB).
Previously, MAFS had held engagement sessions involving supermarkets on July 20 (2023), rice millers and rice wholesalers (August 28) and the Budget 2024 Dialogue Session for the national padi and rice subsectors on September 7.
The issue of the lack of rice supply in the country and the increase in the price of imported rice was raised by Members of Parliament on the second day of the debate on the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Tanjung Piai MP Datuk Seri Wee Jeck Seng urged the government to take immediate action to cover the 38 per cent shortfall in rice supply for local consumption.